<![CDATA[Azarius News]]> http://azarius.es/news/ The Very Advanced, Utterly Cool, Super Duper Azarius RSS Generator v2.34.445 info@azarius.net (azarius.net) <![CDATA[Why you don't want research chemicals]]> http://azarius.es/news/753/Why_you_dont_want_research_chemicals/ Research chemicals or designer drugs are new synthetic substances that mimic existing drugs. Structurally they are almost identical to the original drug but just different enough to be considered new. Which is why these substances are not automatically illegal.

In fact, it takes at least two years before a new substance has been identified by the authorities and a procedure can be started to place it on the list of Schedule I drugs.

That’s why developing these research chemicals pays off for certain people; they can do it without immediate risk of prosecution. Each year, over 50 new synthetics are introduced.

Smartshops and synthetic substances

The first smartshops that arose in the 90s owed their existence to synthetic drugs. Twenty years ago, a lot of substances such as 2C-B and MDA were not classified as drugs yet.

Back then, smartshops were the primary points of purchase for these relatively unknown chemical drugs. A few years later, most synthetic substances were gone from the store shelves and placed on the list of Schedule I drugs. At the same time it became illegal to sell new synthetic substances for consumption.

People tried to bypass this law by offering certain research chemicals as something else, for example: an air freshener, bath salts or plant food. One such product is Explosion. It had a solution that smelled like vanilla and was supposedly an air freshener, but it contained methylone.

Methylone has an effect that's very similar to MDMA, but with a shorter duration. The Dutch Food Safety Authority ensured this substance was treated as a medicine, making a sale without prescription illegal. This is a faster and easier procedure than adding a substance to the list of Schedule I drugs.

Safety not guaranteed

Even though it's now illegal, some smartshops still offer these synthetic products. These are sold with a label that says it's 'not for human consumption'.

The VLOS (Dutch Association of Smartshops) is very unhappy with this. Research chemicals sold in smartshops do not contain any usage/dosage instruction, leaving you completely in the dark.

What's more, people could assume that products purchased in a store are safe. However the safety of research chemicals is even less guaranteed than that of well-known drugs.

Smartshops that nevertheless sell these substances taint the image of their industry and could even endanger the continued existence of smartshops.

Our policy

Azarius does not support the sale of research chemicals. However, we did recently add a new encyclopedia article on this subject. As always, Azarius supports good information to reduce the risks of experimenting with drugs.

Stay safe guys!

Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/753/Why_you_dont_want_research_chemicals/
<![CDATA[JOB OPENING: Student with great writing skills]]> http://azarius.es/news/758/JOB_OPENING__Student_with_great_writing_skills/ …and a serious interest in technical matters and cannabis.

We’re looking for a motivated student who’s keen on developing his/her writing skills, especially blogging and writing catchy content, the likes of which the internet has never before seen. Reviewing vaporizers is one of the main tasks, so affinity with these products is a requirement.

  • Do vaporizers and cannabis excite you?
  • Are you currently enrolled in a Bachelor or Master program?
  • Are you a native English speaker? (Dutch and other languages are a big plus)
  • Are you accurate?
  • Do you have basic knowledge of SEO or are you willing to dive into this topic in your own time?
  • Do you have a special affinity with particle accelerators?

We want YOU!

We offer:

  • At least one day (8 hours) a week
  • Work from home or in our office in Amsterdam-West.
  • A chance to gain writing and working experience with an international e-commerce firm.
  • Career opportunities.
  • A super fun team of open-minded Azarians.
  • A mind-blowing party now and then. Weekly after-office drinks.
  • Free hugs (if you've showered sometime in the last few weeks)

We’re looking forward to receiving your motivational letter and CV. Send it to jakobien@azarius.net.

Do you own blog or have you published your writing online in some other way? Or do you have a pet goat? Fantastic. Be sure to include the references and/or pictures.

Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/758/JOB_OPENING__Student_with_great_writing_skills/
<![CDATA[UK Psychoactive Substances bill is absurd]]> http://azarius.es/news/756/UK_Psychoactive_Substances_bill_is_absurd/ Politicians and their views on drugs are a nearly endless source of entertainment and facepalm inducing frustration.

The newest chapter in this saga: a curious piece of legislation in the UK called the Psychoactive Substances bill. The internet is calling it the most clumsily written British law.

Illegal highs

New drugs appear all the time. Stuff that's called 'legal highs' or research chemicals. As noted in our article on research chemicals, one of the difficulties law enforcement faces with new drugs is that a new substance is not illegal until it has been classified as a drug, which takes time and effort.

The Psychoactive Substances bill was designed to pre-empt that entire process and to simply make it illegal to produce, possess or sell psychoactive substances. Alcohol and nicotine are exempt as well as known controlled substances that are handled by more specific laws.

The most absurd law in UK history?

Basically, the Psychoactive Substances bill is throwing a very wide net to catch any and all as of yet unclassified psychoactive substances. While we understand the intent here - to protect the public from harmful research chemicals - the execution is nothing short of completely absurd.

So why is it so stupid? The phrasing of the law is terribly ambiguous. A substance is considered psychoactive if:

"It stimulates or depresses the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state."

Substances 'ordinarily consumed as food' are also exempt, meaning caffeine and chocolate are in the clear. However, this still leaves a laundry list of completely harmless substances. For example, incense used in church.

It also doesn't deal with the fact that, scientifically, it's impossible to tell if a substance has a psychoactive property until you consume it. Ironically, consuming dangerous new drugs is exactly what this law is supposed to prevent.

Too vague

Legal commentator David Allen Green said: "Prohibitions need to be precise: You need to know whether you are inside or outside the scope of the prohibition so you can regulate your conduct."

Since it's not properly defined, it's unclear what this law is supposed to protect people from. Not to mention the fact that this could seriously hinder legitimate research on potentially beneficial substances.

An overly restrictive ban can also lead to a new wave of underground drug trafficking, which is far more dangerous for the legal highs consumer than buying at a legitimate smartshop/headshop.

Surely, there must be better ways to protect the public health than to blindly ban everything? The Psychoactive Substances bill is unfortunately still set to go into effect in the UK in April.


TheConversation.com - 'How did the mind-boggling new drugs bill make it through parliament?'

Mon, 01 Feb 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/756/UK_Psychoactive_Substances_bill_is_absurd/
<![CDATA[Study: cannabis use not predictive of lower IQ]]> http://azarius.es/news/755/Study__cannabis_use_not_predictive_of_lower_IQ/ Cannabis use by adolescents is not associated with lower IQ or poorer educational performance once adjustments are made for potential confounders, specifically cigarette smoking, according to data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

British investigators assessed the relationship between cumulative cannabis use and IQ at the age of 15 and educational performance at the age of 16 in a cohort of 2,235 adolescents.

After researchers adjusted for potentially confounding variables, such as childhood depression and cigarette use, they reported: "Those who had used cannabis greater than or equal to 50 times did not differ from never-users on either IQ or educational performance."

By contrast, teen cigarette smoking was associated with poorer educational outcomes even after researchers adjusted for other confounding variables.

Researchers concluded: "In summary, the notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenage sample."

No effect on academic performance

A widely publicized New Zealand study published in 2012 reported that frequent use of cannabis by those under the age of 18 was associated with lower IQ by age 38. However, a separate review of the data published later in the same journal suggested that the changes were likely the result of socio-economic differences, not cannabis use.

Full text of the study, “Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study,” appears online here.


Reset.met - 'Study: Cannabis Use Not Predictive Of Lower IQ Or Poorer Educational Performance'

Thu, 28 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/755/Study__cannabis_use_not_predictive_of_lower_IQ/
<![CDATA[Azarius tips for staying warm this winter]]> http://azarius.es/news/754/Azarius_tips_for_staying_warm_this_winter/ The first snow recently appeared here in Amsterdam and it's getting freakishly cold. Winter has truly arrived and we're dreading the cold outside air that seems to instantly freeze the snot in our noses.

But what can you do to stay warm? We're happy you asked! We've got a few special Azarius tips for surviving this cold winter period.

1. Azarius winter clothing

Winter clothing

We hope you already have some winter clothing available, as that sexy tank top won't prevent your nipples from turning into ice cubes. Still, more layers is advisable and it just so happens we have some of our very own hoodies and even an Azarius beanie.

These socks with cannabis leaves are surely the pice de rsistance. Won't get you high, will keep your feet warm.

2. Tea


An obvious choice, but the list wouldn't be complete without our favourite wintertime beverage. Just curling up with a steaming cup of tea warms your hands and taking a sip warms your belly.

We're big tea fans, so have a look at the tea category. For extra style points, grab the Azarius mug too.

3. Aphrodisiacs


When one adult really likes another adult, there are..certain activities..they can undertake that most assuredly keep them warm. Sometimes a little pleasure enhancement is required to really get the hot stuff going and we recommend BlueXtreme or other aphrodisiacs.

4. Smoking pipes

Smoking pipes

Something for the true gentlemen (or gentlewomen) among us. Our classy smoking pipes warm the throat and lungs and are generally small enough to bring with you wherever you go.

5. Infrared heating mat

Heating mat

If all else fails, park your derrire on this bad boy and you're bound to feel some warmth. Just so happens it's also very handy for growing plants and mushrooms in the heart of winter, what luck!

It's advised to order the thermostat in combination with the mat to allow you to set your desired temperature.


And that's our little bag of tricks for staying warm in this harsh season. What tricks do you have? Share them in the comments below!

Sun, 24 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/754/Azarius_tips_for_staying_warm_this_winter/
<![CDATA[Documentary on the Carlos Castaneda controversy]]> http://azarius.es/news/752/Documentary_on_the_Carlos_Castaneda_controversy/ If you have an hour to spare, the BBC documentary below (originally aired in 2007) offers an interesting introduction to and investigation of the controversial books on Don Juan by Carlos Castaeda.

Carlos Castaeda (1925 - 1998) was an American writer and anthropologist best known for his books on the mysterious shaman Don Juan. In the first book 'The Teachings Of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge' (1968), Castaeda describes his apprenticeship in the 1960s with the enigmatic Don Juan, an interesting mix of story, philosophy, drugs and religion.

Real or fake?

This debut publication was an instant success and incited thousands of Americans to set off for Mexico in search of drugs, enlightenment and adventure. Though Castaeda was awarded a doctorate in anthropology by UCLA, an investigative journalist claimed hed faked his fieldwork and that Don Juan was merely a figment of his imagination.

The BBC documentary 'Tales from the Jungle' investigates the controversy that surrounded Castaeda, his work and philosophy

Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/752/Documentary_on_the_Carlos_Castaneda_controversy/
<![CDATA[The great women of psychedelics - Ann Shulgin]]> http://azarius.es/news/745/The_great_women_of_psychedelics_-_Ann_Shulgin/ If you consider yourself a psychonaut or are at least a little bit familiar with the psychedelic scene, you’ll probably recognize names like Hofmann, McKenna, Leary and Grof. Each in their own way a pioneer when it comes to psychedelics.

But where are the women of the psychedelic movement? Well, they don’t seem to be as inclined to step into the limelight. That’s why we’re honouring just a few of the female pioneers.

Previously we talked about María Sabina and Laura Huxley. Today: Ann Shulgin.

Ann Shulgin (born 1931)

Ann is a former therapist, author, speaker and widow of world-renowned chemist Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin. Like Laura Huxley, Ann Shulgin is so much more than ‘just the significant other’. She was a pioneer like her husband and co-authored the classic books PiHKAL and TiHKAL.

Ann met Alexander in 1978, when working with substances such as MDMA and 2C-B in therapeutic sessions. This was in a time when the substances were still legal and she was one of the hundreds of therapists who successfully employed these new drugs.

It was Alexander, an artist on a molecular level, who reintroduced MDMA to the world by developing a new synthesis method. He helped psychologists adopt the substance in the 1970s and continued developing and evaluating psychoactive compounds.

Sasha and Ann Shulgin by Alex Grey

Their own lab rats

Alexander and Ann wrote about their work in the books PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved) and TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved). Together with a group of close friends, the Shulgins explored hundreds of new chemical connections created by Alexander. When asked why he sampled the creations personally, Alexander said: "There are real problems involved in testing a rat for empathy or changes in self-image."

Alexander died of cancer in 2014, but Ann remains a strong advocate for the use of psychedelics in therapy. Both Shulgins were instrumental in the struggle for the recognition of psychedelic research and education.

Education, not propaganda

In an interview on the subject of drug education, Ann said: "I believe in drug education. Education, not propaganda. We should have drug education all over the US and probably in every high school. I think it should be required. (…) Everyone should have a good strong education, but they need to know the facts rather than politics and prejudice."


Azarius would like to thank the Shulgins for all their contributions. Trust us, if you haven’t read PiHKAL or TiHKAL yet, you really should!

Financially, the Shulgins hardly had any advantage of their labour of love. If you want to give back to them, donations are welcome on the Shulgin website.

The great women of psychedelics

We hope you enjoyed this brief summary of influential female psychonauts and driving forces of the psychedelic movement. It always seemed weird how it's mostly a boys club.

Did we miss an important lady psychonaut? Let us know in the comments!

Sources / read on


Reddit.com - Interview with Ann Shulgin and Tania Manning

Sun, 17 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/745/The_great_women_of_psychedelics_-_Ann_Shulgin/
<![CDATA[Altered states of cooking: energy brownies]]> http://azarius.es/news/751/Altered_states_of_cooking__energy_brownies/ At Azarius, you can find a large number of herbs with more than just a psychoactive effect - some of them are highly delicious too!

That's why we're offering you a finger-lickin' dish with energizing properties. Prepare for a great taste and an a surge of energy afterwards.

Filling ingredients (available at Azarius)

  • 2 tablespoons maca. Maca is one of the most well-known superfoods. It's praised in the raw food scene for its high nutritional content and yumminess
  • 10 grams guarana-extract 3:1. This is a stimulating herb, for a nice boost of energy.
  • Half a tablespoon of ginseng. This herb is used extensively in China and helps you to recover after a stressful day.
  • 60 grams raw cacao powder. Raw cacao also energizes and has a synergistic effect together with guarana.

Additional filling ingredients

  • 150 grams cashews, soaked for at least four hours
  • 175 grams honey
  • 125 grams molten coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder

Bottom layer ingredients

  • 180 grams organic seedless dates
  • 90 grams unsalted almonds
  • 40 gram unsalted walnuts


  • Let the dates, almonds and walnuts soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of lukewarm water.
  • Discard the water afterwards. Put the dates, almonds and walnuts in a food processor and chop until well mixed.
  • Gently spread the mixture evenly in a baking pan to a layer of approximately 1 cm. This is the bottom of your brownies.
  • Put the filling ingredients into a large bowl and mash with a blender until you get a nice, creamy mass.
  • Spread it across the bottom.
  • Place the energy brownies in the refrigerator and give it at least 45 minutes to stiffen a little.

And voil, time to enjoy a delicious treat!

energy brownies]]>
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/751/Altered_states_of_cooking__energy_brownies/
<![CDATA[Psychedelic Sessions: Between genius and madness]]> http://azarius.es/news/738/Psychedelic_Sessions__Between_genius_and_madness/ What role do psychedelics play in the fine divide between creativity, genius and madness? Sit back and listen to Dr. Hylke Vervaeke, MSc Biomedical Sciences and universitair teacher at the Vrije Universiteit, discuss just that in this special talk.

(Please note: this talk is held in Dutch)

This talk was recorded at the Psychedelic Sessions at Landjuweel Festival 2015.

About Psychedelic Sessions

The Psychedelic Sessions are six thought-provoking talks on the psychedelic experience. Most of us know about trippin' and spacin', but what do psychedelics have to offer us from ritualistic, therapeutic, scientific or spiritual point of view?

The Psychedelic Sessions was hosted by your favourite online smartshop & headshop (that's us!) at the Ruigoord saloon during the Landjuweel Festival. In case you missed it, we've uploaded all lectures for you here.

Sat, 09 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/738/Psychedelic_Sessions__Between_genius_and_madness/
<![CDATA[Carl Sagan's essay on cannabis ]]> http://azarius.es/news/306/Carl_Sagans_essay_on_cannabis/ In case you missed it the first time: the article below was originally posted in 2009 but Carl Sagan's essay is still remarkable and poignant today. Enjoy!


Below are a few citations from an essay that astronomer Carl Sagan wrote in 1969 for Marihuana Reconsidered, a book published by Dr. Lester Grinspoon. At that time Sagan was 35 years old. He continued using cannabis for the rest of his life.

"The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before. The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I'm down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse."

"A very similar improvement in my appreciation of music has occurred with cannabis. For the first time I have been able to hear the separate parts of a three-part harmony and the richness of the counterpoint. I have since discovered that professional musicians can quite easily keep many separate parts going simultaneously in their heads, but this was the first time for me.

"Again, the learning experience when high has at least to some extent carried over when I'm down. The enjoyment of food is amplified; tastes and aromas emerge that for some reason we ordinarily seem to be too busy to notice. I am able to give my full attention to the sensation. A potato will have a texture, a body, and taste like that of other potatoes, but much more so."

Cannabis also enhances the enjoyment of sex - on the one hand it gives an exquisite sensitivity, but on the other hand it postpones orgasm: in part by distracting me with the profusion of image passing before my eyes. The actual duration of orgasm seems to lengthen greatly, but this may be the usual experience of time expansion which comes with cannabis smoking."

"I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs. The heightened sensitivity in all areas gives me a feeling of communion with my surroundings, both animate and inanimate."

"When I'm high I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era. I can reconstruct the actual occurrences in childhood events only half understood at the time. Many but not all my cannabis trips have somewhere in them a symbolism significant to me which I won't attempt to describe here, a kind of mandala embossed on the high. Free-associating to this mandala, both visually and as plays on words, has produced a very rich array of insights."

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world."

Well said, Carl...

The entire text can be read here: Dr. Lester Grinspoon's Marijuana Uses.

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0100http://azarius.es/news/306/Carl_Sagans_essay_on_cannabis/